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When the school blames problems on ADHD


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Joined: Jun 01, 2008
Posts: 26
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Posted Aug 02, 2008 at 4:11:17 PM
Subject: When the school blames problems on ADHD

I could use some opinions. My DS will be in 11th grade this year and he is struggling each year, having to attend tutorials regularly to stay caught up. I had an IEE done last summer - IQ and achievement testing - because the school didn't feel it was necessary. Both tests showed he had problems with verbal comprehension/oral language, and his achievement scores have dropped since the last testing. The school wouldn't consider the psych's LD diagnosis because it didn't meet the classic discrepancy test (although there was a 23 pt discrepancy between verbal & nonverbal IQ). They blamed his problems on his ADHD. The school did agree to do some speech language testing on him and found some weak areas but overall language was low average, again, didn't qualify. And again, they blamed his ADHD.

I have since found out from DS he has a lot of difficulty understanding his teachers who lecture without many visuals, and in HS, that's fairly common. Last month, I had outside SL testing done that was more in depth and he has both a significant deficit in receptive language and auditory memory. I feel certain he either has a language impairment or language based LD. His reading comprehension is at a 6th gr. level. I'm concerned they won't do anything other than add a couple of accommodations and try to blame his ADHD again. That argument only works up to a point, and if he's going to make it through HS he'll need more than a couple of accom. It seems like they're doing the minimum to get by until he graduates. Without some interventions in language and reading, he may very well not graduate. How do I get them to see this?

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scifinut
Joined Jul 11, 2005
Posts: 550

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Posted:Aug 02, 2008 9:51:48 PM

Let them know you are serious about getting the appropriate accommodations for your son. Talk to an educational advocacy group. There are Parent Training Centers in every state that can help you with information. If necessary, hire an educational advocate. Having an advocate with you at a meeting can make a world of difference. :)

scifinut mom to: ms 16, bp/adhd/anxiety/complex ld mr. 20, add/dyslexic I hear and I forget I see and I remember I do and I understand. -Anonymous

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majorv
Joined Jun 01, 2008
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Posted:Aug 05, 2008 8:06:48 PM

I would be willing to consider it but before I take that step I was wondering if anyone had ideas on persuasive arguments to use first. I checked into a local advocate firm and they are extremely expensive. I hate to go in with 'guns blazin' right off the bat.

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DRHD
Joined Apr 29, 2008
Posts: 135

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Posted:Aug 16, 2008 9:51:52 AM

Majorv,

I find your issue quite troubling and no doubt you are quite frustrated. You have some simple solutions to your dilemma. I don't think you need to go with "guns a'blazin".

By the virtue of the fact the LEA or school personnel describe or attribute the lack of achievement to your son's ADHD would lead to an Other Health Impaired diagnosis by the eligibility committee. This then would lead to an IEP which would lead to services. I would simply place in writing that you suspect your child has an IDEA disability of OHI and this will cause the LEA to have to act on the referral upon receipt.

Another option is to consider a 504 disability as a basis of your child not being able to access a major life activity to the extent his disability (ADHD) does not allow. The school personnel have already suggested to you that his lack of success is directly attributable to ADHD.

Finally, please let me understand the forum in which your discussions have been held: a child study process, an eligibility committee, or just a parent conference with teachers. This is important to understand as there are some procedural matters that may have taken place in these discussions.

Let me know.

DRHD

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majorv
Joined Jun 01, 2008
Posts: 26

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Posted:Aug 17, 2008 2:25:56 AM

I apologize for this important omission but he is already under an IEP as OHI. The accommodations he has are for ADHD and don't really address these additional problems. The diagnostician has told me that I should be supporting him in self-advocacy rather than dwelling on testing and more accommodations. He does need to learn to self-advocate and understand his disability, but if he's struggling because his deficits aren't being addressed I can't sit and do nothing. It seems like once kids are in high school, the school only offers the minimum necessary to get by.

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geodob
Joined Feb 06, 2005
Posts: 265

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Posted:Aug 17, 2008 5:46:19 AM

Have you considered auditory processing disorder, which seems quite possible for what you wrote.

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scifinut
Joined Jul 11, 2005
Posts: 550

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Posted:Aug 17, 2008 11:12:21 AM

While self-advocacy is a great skill, it has to be backed by a persistant parent who knows the rights of their child and is willing to push for those rights. I'm not talking about "guns blazing", I'm talking about not backing down until your son has what he needs. Sometimes that does mean bringing in an advocate or lawyer as their very presence can put the school on notice that you are willing to do what it takes to get what your child needs.

OFTEN parents are looked down on as knowing little by the schools. It is sometimes necessary to take a stronger stand, especially if the school continues to ignore serious issues that can be helped by a few accommodations. This can all be done very politely but firmly. :)

When my dd was younger the school wanted to blame all her issues on bipolar and adhd but I knew there was more going on. I couldn't get the school to budge until I brought in an advocate. That helped tremendously without being hostile. It just let them know I was serious and we were going to get to the bottom of her issues so that she had a decent chance at an education. I only used that advocate for 1 year. Since then I can walk into the school and they know I'm a parent to take seriously. I have a great relationship with my dd's high school staff, they listen to her when she self-advocates and if things get stuck they know I'm there to back her up and help work out compromises.

Be a knowledgable parent. When you talk to them have info on hand, pull out state educational codes and document, document, document.

scifinut mom to: ms 16, bp/adhd/anxiety/complex ld mr. 20, add/dyslexic I hear and I forget I see and I remember I do and I understand. -Anonymous

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majorv
Joined Jun 01, 2008
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Posted:Aug 22, 2008 1:36:14 PM

The SpEd director has set up a 'meet his teachers' meeting for me next week and is bringing in a couple of last year's teachers to tell them what seemed to work for DS in the classroom. It's a good start. When I meet with her afterward maybe I can get a feel for what else they will do. Just have to see how it goes...

Thanks for the advice.

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DRHD
Joined Apr 29, 2008
Posts: 135

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Posted:Sep 03, 2008 3:04:59 PM

Majorv,

What is the status of your child's situation in school?

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majorv
Joined Jun 01, 2008
Posts: 26

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Posted:Sep 06, 2008 2:37:41 PM

At the meeting, the SpEd director went through many of the recommendations on the SLP's report, and the teachers who attended seemed open to trying them. Two critical teachers weren't there, though (math & science). I also know, from last year, that teachers usually have good intentions to implement things and for one reason or another it may not get done. With no oversight or monitoring in place I was afraid I wouldn't see much improvement. So, at the end of the meeting I asked the school to send the report to the district SLP with a request to review eligibility based on additional information. I am waiting to hear something. If they deny speech/language eligibility I'm not sure what to do next. I have a good relationship with the SpEd director - she has gone out of her way to help my son in other areas, so I hope that in pushing the issue I haven't caused hard feelings by making her think that what she did wasn't good enough.

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DRHD
Joined Apr 29, 2008
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Posted:Sep 07, 2008 10:11:56 AM

Majorv,

1) Should the school division refuse to provide speech and language services to your child they are required to provide you Prior Written Notice.

2) I would suggest that you request an IEP review each 6 weeks to review this child's progress/non-progress

3) I would not request a review of your child's eligibility at this time but allow the implementation of the revised IEP to be implemented.

DRHD

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majorv
Joined Jun 01, 2008
Posts: 26

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Posted:Sep 07, 2008 4:53:41 PM

Thank you very much! I think number 2) is a good backup plan if he is denied S-L services. They should not balk at doing this, and hopefully we can incorporate some of the report's recommendations into his accommodations. Thanks again!

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DRHD
Joined Apr 29, 2008
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Posted:Sep 07, 2008 6:57:40 PM

Majorv,

Hope things proceed well for you and your child. Please remember, an IEP has to have two elements to provide an appropriate education for a child: 1) the IEP must be reasonably calculated based on the child's assessed needs and 2) that from the IEP there is a reasonable expectation of benefit for the child. Item # 2 is where you need to focus your discussion in your 6 week meetings. If the child is not benefitting from the current plan of services then the IEP needs to be reviewed for potential revision and modification.

Keep me posted on your progress.

DRHD

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majorv
Joined Jun 01, 2008
Posts: 26

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Posted:Oct 09, 2008 6:34:58 PM

DRHD, just an update on this. After reviewing all the tests, the speech path assigned to our school said because his ADHD/auditory issues are what's causing his problem he doesn't meet the criteria for a true language impairment. However, she has the okay from the school district to help DS without the SL'label' because his deficits are definitely causing problems for him in the classroom. She wants to do a little more testing and meet again to show me her plan to help him. I hope it will include some IEP goals and a plan to regularly meet to review his progress - I don't know since this is all kind of unofficial. I will mention your suggestion, though, in case they don't bring it up. Thanks again for your help!
[Modified by: majorv on October 10, 2008 08:17 AM]

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DRHD
Joined Apr 29, 2008
Posts: 135

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Posted:Oct 10, 2008 10:00:00 AM

Majorv,

Thank you for the feedback. I wish to clarify something for you. I think the speech pathologist is being helpful and with the additional assessment I would think that this will prove helpful to your son.

Please note:

1) The perception that the speech pathologist is providing assistance to your son is not something that requires a sanction or approval from her supervisor. This assistance is your son's entitlement to special education and related services. If what she is doing is not consistent with the IEP that you consented to previously then I suggest you revise it and consent to the assistance she is to provide. This is just precautionary if you feel uncertain about this.

2) Your child has been identified with an Other Health Impairment. To add an additional related servcice such as speech or language intervention does not require this child to be determined "eligible" for this service. These are IEP issues not eligibility issues. If so, the local school division is adding an unnecessary delay in providing the servcie needed and appropriate for your child. When IDEA states that a disable child is entitled to special education and related servcies this is what it means.

3) Keep up the 6 weeks review process. It will upgrade the accountability for the services being provided to your son.

DRHD

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